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Royal Oak, Lewes - pub details

Address: 3 Station Road, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2DA [map] [gmap]

Tel: 0871 951 1000 (ref 13282) - calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras

Nearest train stations Lewes (0.1 miles), Cooksbridge (2.4 miles), Glynde (2.9 miles)

Pub facilities/features:
Cask Marque accreditation

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> Current user rating: 5.7/10 (rated by 29 users)
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other pubs nearby:

Lansdown Arms, Lewes (0.0 miles), Crown Inn, Lewes (0.1 miles), Rainbow, Lewes (0.1 miles), Rights of Man, Lewes (0.1 miles), Lamb, Lewes (0.1 miles) - see more nearby pubs

 

user reviews of Royal Oak, Lewes

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

5 most recent reviews of 22 shown - see all reviews

Looks a bit uninviting from the outside, but the staff are really friendly and the draft Budvar is excellent. Have been back a few times, mainly on weekend/holiday afternoons, and it's never been busy - couldn't comment on what it's like on Friday or Saturday nights though. Prices seem decent for the area which is a big draw. My one criticism is the music - instead of Heart FM, some real Rock 'n' Roll would be nice...!

Anyway, this is one of the few pubs in Lewes that feels like a proper pub and not a fancy restaurant; well worth a visit.
CannyRogue - 19 Jan 2013 15:49
Unassuming pub which, for bonfire, was stripped of furniture and looked bleak. Yet I was pleasantly surprised by the bubbly bar staff and the 'chavvy' customers were really quite polite and welcoming. We went back later.
This pub won't win awards ~ but it was an entirely enjoyable experience.
bighands - 7 Nov 2012 08:09
Despite being a Greene King pub, only one of the four beers on tap was theirs. Also had Old Hooky, an orange beer and Hophead (Dark Star) on offer. Went for the latter which was very palatable.
Food was pretty mediocre - very small piece of fish, about six peas and not a huge amount of chips for not much south of a tenner.
Very pleasant girl behind the bar.
An okay boozer - would go back again for beer but not bother with the food.
duchyjim - 17 Jun 2012 18:33
Despite being a Greene King pub, only one of the four beers on tap was theirs. Also had Old Hooky, an orange beer and Hophead (Dark Star) on offer. Went for the latter which was very palatable.
Food was pretty mediocre - very small piece of fish, about six peas and not a huge amount of chips for not much south of a tenner.
Very pleasant girl behind the bar.
An okay boozer - would go back again for beer but not bother with the food.
duchyjim - 17 Jun 2012 18:33
First visit made to this pub last Saturday, as it is about the only one in central Lewes that I've not got round to bothering over the years. Sadly, as I always suspected, it isn't one I shall be bothering with again in a hurry.

The exterior presents itself pleasantly-enough, and one would assume there is a fair-to-middling chance of it being a worthwhile drop-in - after all, few pubs on this manor are aesthetically-lacking, and most have enough kerb appeal to draw even the most wary of punters. The Greene King signage might be a put-off for some alemeisters, but even so it's worth giving some of their outlets a fair crack of your whip, just to be sure.

So one would perhaps expect a pleasant interior, but maybe rather uninspiring cask beer? Not a bit of either. I think (bear in mind the caveat that I was 8 pints down at this point!) there was a potential five ales on, albeit that on my visit only four were available. I had a seasonal Bateman's beer ('Spring Goddess?') which I found to be most palatable. There were three GK-related beers in stock, but clearly the management aren't obliged to stick slavishly to their beers alone. No, the beer didn't really disappoint and credit where it's due.

The interior decor and atmosphere however, decidedly did. The immediate impression was that of a dingy, subterranean pub-club venue (a shock given that that pub is very much above ground level). The smell of disinfectant noted by a reviewer on 3 July 2010 was sadly still in evidence (one has to wonder what it is they're covering up?!). All in all I did not find it appealing .

The Royal Oak just has to be kept by a younger manager; it clearly pitches itself towards the studenty market and occupies the kind of territory that the Snowdrop used to, before it was taken over and re-born in a far more appealing and mature idiom. The radio was blasting out Heart FM's Saturday stalwart 'Club Classics'. The only punter one would not expect to have been seen dead in here (maybe he was in fact dead?!) was an old bearded boy studiously reading some railway-related literature while quaffing ale from his own pewter tankard. The old Lewes though was outnumbered though by an increasing number of younger folk who I suspect had less-enriching activities in their sights than a spot of quiet reading. If there is a 'rough' element here, I'd have to guess that this would be a natural magnet for them, although in fairness I didn't stay long enough to see how things developed throughout the evening, so it could just be my dear old small-minded prejudices speaking again.

I did - ahem - have cause to use the toilet facilities here. I must say, the disinfectant had done its job and I found them to be in decent nick, despite having some trepidation given the rather dank experience I'd had in the bar area, so fair dos on that one folks. I should also make it clear that I don't recall the main bar area being dirty either.

I suppose this pub suffers all the more from being set in an affluent, well-to-do town which tends to major on civilised, smart, traditional and characterful boozers. Compared to some of its nearby neighbours the Oak just doesn't play in the same league, although I can see that it does offer an alternative experience for those who aren't seeking any of the above elements. I could also be persuaded that during lunchtime hours it might have a broader appeal?

Not my cup o' cha I'm afraid, but well done for doing something different in the local context, and for keeping what I found to be perfectly decent cask.


TWG - 14 May 2012 17:07

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